Innovation is not always as fun and glamorous as one might think. Brainstorms and creative workshops are for sure a lot of fun. I have tossed balls to and from colleagues to spark quick thinking on my feet, wore hats in different colours to put my mind into the right mode, and so on – I have tested out many methods to ignite creativity. And, turns out most of them work pretty well, too.
I have always loved creative workshops where you are allowed to let ideas run freely. However, developing ideas is only the start of innovating. You have to actually find out which idea you think you should follow (lots of tools and methods for this as well), and then the really hard part – you have to DO IT!
Working “at the bleeding edge of technology”, I sometimes find myself doing stuff I thought I´d never have to do again. Punching data into systems, for example. I thought I had seen the last of that many years ago – isn´t all automated by now? Batch imports, anyone? Nope – not always. And, who are you gonna ask to solve it? Hire students? Ask the newly employed trainee? The overworked programmers developing the solution? Or do you actually have to consider contributing to solving the task yourself?
If something hasn´t been tried before, you probably should get your hands dirty. You gain a lot of knowledge from seeing behind the scenes, thereby understanding how things really work. Take part of the data punching, understand how things communicate (or doesn´t), for example. By involving yourself to a certain level in the implementation process of a new digital solution – you will know exactly what it takes, what it can do, and because of that, you will have a much better foundation for understanding where your future opportunities and challenges will lie.
I believe everybody could use some time in the trenches from now and then. Especially if you are a little unsure of how technology really works. Participate, don´t be afraid to ask questions – and learn tons from it.
Good luck with exploring the trenches of your next project!
Placing beacons behind glass worked somewhat, but I probably won´t do that again. Testing and sometimes failing, but then learn from it, is part of the fun